Link Tank is our way of showing you some of the interesting, useful, thought-provoking and other eye-catching stuff we come across. For more of these, see the Link Tank tag.
Like many businesses, you may be exploring integrating social media with your email marketing campaigns. Doing so can expand the reach of your messages and grow both your fans/followers as well as your email list.
As some of you noted when we rolled out our integration with Facebook, it only worked with personal profiles (not fan pages) due to limitations with Facebook’s API. We knew you wanted to post to your fan pages, but it wasn’t technically feasible at the time.
Well, as the saying goes, the only constant is change. And this is a good one. Facebook has changed their API, we’ve changed our integration and you can now post your email newsletters to your fan pages.
How to Share Your Email Newsletters On Your Facebook Fan Page
Go to your List Settings page and click the “Connect To A New Facebook Account” button under the Social Media / Sharing header (this works the same way whether you have a Facebook account connected already or not).
When prompted, allow AWeber Email Marketing to manage your pages.
When you create your broadcast, go to the “Social Media/Sharing” section and choose to share the email on your fan page.
That’s all there is to it! Feel free to take a look at our Knowledge Base for more detailed information and instructions on integrating Facebook and AWeber.
“Email – I can’t imagine my life without it – is probably going away,” Sheryl Sandberg Facebook’s COO boldly claimed at the Nielsen’s Consumer 360 conference earlier this summer.
Obviously, We beg to differ!
On the contrary, it seems obvious to us that email is stronger than ever – particularly when used hand-in-hand with social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
In fact, in our recent survey of email marketers, we found that:
- 33% reported integrating social media and email marketing has increased their subscriber base.
- 30% reported after integrating social media and email marketing they saw an increase in friends/fans/followers.
With email and social working hand-in-hand, how could email possibly go away?
Just as the Wall Street Journal made the claim that 2009 was “the end of the email era,” Sandberg spoke for Facebook, suggesting that the use of social media will bring about the demise of email.
Email is still alive, thriving and only helping social media become an even more powerful tool than it already is.
The Nielsen Company, the same organization that held the conference that brought about the controversial claim, agrees. The results of their 2009 study of email and social media use indicate that “social media use makes people consume email more, not less…particularly for the highest social media users.”
“If you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow, you look at what teenagers are doing today,” Sandberg touted.
So let’s take a look at what they are doing today. In a 2009 survey of people 18-24, the Participatory Marketing Network and Pace University found that the majority of those surveyed would rather abandon social networks long before they stopped using email.
Generation Y spends a large amount of time on social sites. Their average time spent on social networks each month is 33 hours, making them high social media users.
When they were asked which activity they would least like to give up for one week, only 9% said social networks, as compared to 26% for email.
That doesn’t sound to us like email is going anywhere any time soon. In fact, take a look at what positive effects the respondents of our recent survey have had with email and social media:
Clearly, there’s a correlation between the two mediums, and there is some truth to Ms. Sandberg’s presentation. As she attests, “Facebook connects people in really extraordinary ways.”
There are 400 million people who use Facebook worldwide. It obliterates communication barriers and can put you in touch with people all over the globe who otherwise would never have come in contact with your business or brand.
When it comes down to it, people are people. Whether you are growing your email list or looking for people to “like” your brand on Facebook, any and all eyeballs on your service are welcome.
You have to remember that social networks rely on email in the most basic sense. Facebook requires an email address to log on, and their emails notify you of updates, friend requests and comments.
Rather than deny the importance of email, Facebook should embrace it! The two make a rather powerful pair – both play a significant role in that relationship.
They have the potential to increase awareness of the other and encourage users to participate with both mediums and they cultivate and nurture true brand advocates.
If you use social media and email together, or have ideas of your own for using Facebook or other social media sites along with email to create the biggest buzz, please share them!
Recently, we surveyed AWeber customers to see what small businesses are doing in their email marketing today, and what you’re planning to do in the future.
Turns out you’re doing a lot of really cool stuff (no surprise to us ;))!
Here are some findings and analysis from the survey:
- Almost 70% of small businesses are employing some sort of social media tactics.
- Small businesses find email marketing’s ROI more measurable, more quickly realized and greater than social media’s ROI.
- Over 71% of small businesses plan to increase their focus on behavioral targeting in the coming year.
You can also grab a copy of the complete results and analysis.
Small Businesses Investing More in Email Marketing, Look to Integrate Social Media
Huntingdon Valley, Pa. (June 23, 2010) - AWeber Communications, a leading provider of web-based email marketing software for small businesses, today announced results from a survey of more than 2,500 small businesses regarding email marketing and social media marketing efforts. Email marketing continues to bring significant value to businesses with more than 82 percent of respondents planning to increase their email marketing efforts over the next year.
The survey, generated by AWeber and initially reported by eMarketer, indicates that the more social media grows in popularity among consumers, the more attention it will receive from marketers. While it may not be entirely clear how marketers are incorporating social media into their existing digital marketing efforts such as email marketing, almost 70 percent of small business marketers are employing some sort of social media tactics and a majority (77 percent) indicate that integrating email marketing and social media is either “very important” or “moderately important.”
The most popular tactics at the moment involve spreading content onto additional mediums such as sharing email newsletters on Twitter (36 percent) and delivering blog posts via email (35 percent). Small business marketers seem to recognize the value in driving social media followers and fans to their email lists and vice versa – allowing subscribers to access information from the medium they are most comfortable with.
“As the survey results indicate, email marketing continues to be a measurable, effective tool that brings significant value to small businesses, regardless of the nature of their business,” said Tom Kulzer, CEO and founder of AWeber. “It is also evident that marketers are continuing to realize the importance of integrating their email marketing campaigns with social media activities as a way to reach a broader audience, but are still learning how to do this effectively. We continue to provide our users with educational resources, including our blog and webinars to help them better understand how to engage with their customers.”
Another interesting finding from the survey centered on behavioral targeting, a method considered help deliver superior results. By specifically targeting email campaigns toward subscribers who have taken an action (opened a particular email, clicked on a link), nearly 50 percent of respondents indicated that behavioral targeting increases their conversion rates either significantly or moderately.
These responses also highlight a divide between email marketers who are testing behavioral targeting and those who are not. Nearly a quarter (24.8 percent) of respondents state that they have not tested behavioral targeting in their email marketing campaigns, while another 23 percent are not sure whether behavioral targeting increases conversion rates – a number which suggests that marketers may not be testing this thoroughly, if at all.
However, this divide may be shrinking, as an overwhelming majority of respondents (71.4 percent) plan to increase their focus on behavioral targeting in their email campaigns over the next year.
As the ongoing battle for subscribers’ attention escalates, relevance and value are at a premium making analytical date more valuable than ever. Nearly 70 percent of respondents indicate that analytical reports either significantly or moderately impact their email marketing strategies. Of the marketers who do not currently use these reports, more than one quarter are interested in using them.
Other key findings from the AWeber survey include:
- More than 66 percent of respondents indicate they intend to use behavioral targeting as well as sales tracking in their campaigns over the next 12 months.
- 54 percent of respondents indicate they intend to use Facebook as a tool to help build their email lists
- Nearly 20 percent of respondents indicate that integrating email marketing and social media increased customer loyalty
- Almost 12 times as many respondents said that email marketing ROI is more easily measured than social media ROI (61.46 percent versus 5.28 percent)
The AWeber survey was conducted over a five-day period from May 20-24. Responses were entered anonymously by 2,579 AWeber customers. Based on the population size and the number of respondents, responses can be reported with a 99% confidence level with a margin of error of +/- three percent.
For more information, including full survey results and the executive summary, contact Justin Premick, Director of Education Marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About AWeber Communications
AWeber Communications helps businesses increase sales and profits through its suite of web-based email marketing software. The privately held, debt-free company was founded in 1998. For more information, visit http://www.aweber.com.
Thanks To Everyone Who Participated In The Survey!
To all of you who took a few minutes out of your day to answer our survey last month, thanks so much!
Hopefully it’s useful and motivating to see how your email marketing efforts and usage compare to those of other small businesses.
An effective email marketing campaign requires framework. Successful marketers will always be the first to tell you that their campaigns are the work of careful planning and diligent consideration.
It’s actually much like building a house. There’s no way you can construct a building haphazardly, without direction, and turn out a flawless finished product. The result would be chaotic!
The same goes for email. You can’t randomly send messages to your clients and prospects without establishing expectations and formulating a plan, or they will tune out and unsubscribe due to your lack of organization.
Follow these guidelines for constructing a well built house and you’ll be on your way to creating a profitable and manageable email campaign in no time.
You Need a Solid Foundation
The strongest buildings are built from the ground up on a rock-solid foundation. For your email campaign, the foundation is your message content.
The whole point in sending email is to solicit an action. You want readers to click through your messages, buy products and respond to surveys. In order to engage subscribers and inspire those actions, you must consistently send subscribers interesting, relevant and incentivizing content.
- If you are using email as a sales tool, you want to wow readers with your products and your knowledge, and establish yourself as an authority in your field.
- If you’re using email as a retention tool and are primarily sending informational updates and newsletters, you want to create content that builds relationships.
Sources for Content
- If your business has a blog, you already have one valuable content resource well within your reach. Try restructuring older posts for your new messages and pick posts with lots of comments – they obviously piqued the interest of your readers and will be relevant and helpful to new subscribers on your email list.
- Don’t have a blog? Look through old emails from your customers. If you see the same questions about your product or service over and over again, take that as a hint. You could probably create a whole follow up series addressing the FAQs.
- Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of content you need to create? Check out sites like Lateral Action and Copyblogger for inspiration and words of wisdom.
Plenty of Windows
Windows let light into your home. They give you different views of your yard and help you keep watch when the kids play outside. They also let your neighbors see in.
Instead of drawing the curtains tight on your email campaign, take the opportunity to give your readers a look inside. Be transparent. Build their trust by making yourself available.
Don’t make subscribers dig for your social networking sites. Instead, purposely link to your Facebook and Twitter pages so that they can’t miss them.
If you put all of the information about your company out there for subscribers to see from the get-go, you will never need to Windex the windows on your campaign or backtrack to make yourself more transparent.
KRAMER: Newman and I are reversing the peepholes on our door, so you can see in.
JERRY: But then anyone can just look in and see you.
KRAMER: Our policy is, we’re comfortable with our bodies. You know, if someone wants to help themselves to an eyeful, well, we say, enjoy the show.
So reverse your peepholes! Get comfortable with your brand’s body and let your subscribers enjoy the show week after week through your emails.
Anyone who takes pride in their home understands the desire to make your property as clean and beautiful as possible.
You landscape, paint and generally spruce things up from time to time to keep your house in tip-top shape. After all, your home is a reflection of you.
Your email campaign should be an extension of your business in the same way. You should take pride in its appearance, and realize that a neat and approachable design will only contribute positively to the perception of your brand.
Using beautifully designed message and web form templates is the perfect way to put a professional face on your campaign. With hundreds to choose from, there’s bound to be at least one or two that fits your style.
An Impenetrable Roof
The roof on your building protects your structure and everything inside. Email deliverability requires the same amount of protection.
There are a few things you can do to safeguard your list:
A Maintenance Plan
Even impeccably built homes require maintenance. While autoresponders allow you to “set it and forget it,” the best email campaigns have owners that are extremely involved with their clients and their product.
When necessary, do a little spring cleaning. Your campaign can never be too tidy!
Building your Own Campaign?
Do you have a basic blueprint for building your email marketing campaigns? What does it look like?
Social media is a big part of the marketing world these days. Most net-savvy businesses (including us here at AWeber) have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. That being the case, we’ve found that people are always looking for ways to make their social media and email marketing campaigns work together.
Those of you familiar with our service will know that we’ve helped customers automatically tweet their email newsletters for some time now.
Recently, we’ve updated our social media options to make combining your social media efforts with your AWeber account even easier.
Automatically Post Broadcasts On Facebook!
With our new Social Media / Sharing options you can automatically post your broadcasts to your Facebook wall.
In the spirit of consistency, you can create new connections with Twitter and Facebook through your account’s List Settings page. This is also where you can pick a default Twitter and Facebook account specific to each list.
If you want to get started with this new feature right away, you can refer to our knowledge base for a more detailed walkthrough.
Multiple Twitter / Facebook Accounts? No Problem.
As we were revisiting our options for social media integration, we decided to make it easier for our users to work with multiple Twitter accounts. If you’re unfamiliar with how Twitter works with AWeber, we have an easy-to-follow knowledge base article.
When creating a broadcast you will find the options to tweet / post your broadcast towards the bottom of the page under the “Social Media / Sharing” section. The accounts you have selected as your defaults will automatically be selected for your convenience.
Don’t Forget To Check The Preview!
So now that you’ve added your Twitter and Facebook accounts and selected a default for each, we’ve provided you with a preview of what your new tweet / post will look like. As a good measure and reassurance you can see exactly what you are about to post / tweet before you send your message.
How Does Integrating Email Marketing and Social Media Help Your Business?
Have you been sharing your email newsletters on Twitter, Facebook and/or other sites? (If not, are you planning to now?)
What have the effects been (or what do you expect they will be) on your business and marketing?
No painted yellow lines exist on the road to email marketing mastery. Blogs, books, and case studies are piled into mountains, and climbing them can be daunting.
Fortunately, your fellow email marketers have left signposts along the way. Their comments, tweets and reviews signal which resources they found most useful. Their comments add their voices into the discussion, making that resource even more valuable.
One hill in those mountains of resources is the AWeber blog. Our readers’ comments and tweets show which posts they appreciate most. Those posts are assembled below to give you insight into some of the biggest issues that could crop up in your path.
The Posts Most Traveled
This Facebook application lets you invite your entire contact list – and anyone else who visits your page – to sign up for your emails.
Watch the video in this post to find out how to set this up, step by step.
If you send emails from an address that doesn’t accept replies, you’re sabotaging your campaign and your relationship with subscribers.
This post and the responding comments explain the mistake you’re making and discuss the effects in detail.
A sense of urgency in your subject lines might prompt more subscribers to open your emails. Getting too dramatic, however, jeopardizes your credibility.
Find out how to strike the right balance with compelling, straightforward subject lines.
This industrial rock band has a marketing strategy as alternative as its sound. Email’s conversational, customizable nature means it’s an ideal medium for putting this strategy to use.
Read this post to discover ways you, too, can market like a rock star.
Personalizing emails with subscriber names has been reported to send opens and clicks skyrocketing. It might do the same for you – but it might also cause other problems.
Learn what they could be, and then discover some deeper, more useful ways to personalize.
Written as a response to no-spend New Year’s resolutions, this post is appropriate for any time you hit a lull in sales. Instead of pushing discounts that customers don’t want and you can’t afford, use this time to build loyalty with these entertaining ideas.
Before customers even get to your subject line, they encounter your from line. But what do they see there?
Different ISPs have different cutoff points, so your from line might be chopped in a way that leaves subscribers questioning who you are. Find out how to rewrite your from line for maximum recognition.
If You’re Lost, Ask Us For Directions!
If you find yourself confused by anything in these posts, you are welcome to contact our helpful and friendly Customer Solutions team. We’ll be happy to provide the best directions we can to guide you on your journey.
If, instead, you have a brilliant insight about any of these posts that you want to share, please feel free to leave your own comment. We look forward to reading your take on these topics!
According to industry experts, customer service is “the new marketing“. When you take care of your customers, they feel good about you. When they feel good about you, they stick with you.
Let’s take a look at how you can apply the new marketing approach to revolutionize your email campaign.
It’s About the People
According to media marketing expert Chris Brogan:
Broken down step by step, this advice holds several useful suggestions for email marketing in ways that serve your customers.
“Start relationships before selling to them.”
In a video interview, AWeber customer Chris Guillebeau says about his subscribers, “I’m going to be in these relationships for years.” So he invests time courting each one.
- He sends each new subscriber an individual message to thank them for joining. It’s quick and small, but an appreciated personal touch.
- In his first autoresponder, he candidly expresses hope that they’ll find his emails interesting.
- In the next few emails, he challenges readers to reflect on their lives and goals – no sales yet. A few messages in, he invites feedback. And then he responds to it.
“As you gradually introduce products and services,” he explains, “many of those people will end up purchasing and supporting you.”
“Learn more about them.”
The best way to learn about your customers is to ask about them. You could:
- Send out surveys that ask for preferences
- Engage your subscribers on social networks
- Use a from address that invites replies, instead of refusing them
Guillebeau suggests the question: “Why do you read my (emails)?” The answers he got from his own readers helped him entirely reconceptualize his content.
“Make the offer – if it makes sense.”
Make sure each product you introduce is something your audience wants. Then, make sure you get them ready for it.
- Guillebeau leads up to the launch of each product or service by introducing it ahead of time.
- Flint McGlaughlin of MarketingExperiments suggests thanking existing customers for their past purchases. This establishes a level of intimacy and reminds them that they trust you already.
- You could also segment – split your list into new, mature and veteran subscribers. Each segment might appreciate different offers. Every few months, reset the segments.
Keep in Mind
The key to new marketing is building two-way, trusting relationships with your subscribers. You want their purchases, yes. But you also need their word-of-mouth support, their ideas and their goodwill.
“You must overcome the resistance before you can even start the sale,” says McGlaughlin. “Don’t ask me to kiss you before we’ve even gone on a date.”
Over 70% consider “competition with social media for recipients’ time and attention” an important challenge for 2010, according to Marketing Sherpa’s 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report.
So how can you deal with this challenge?
Try Email 2.0. Instead of competing, implement these ideas to put social media to work for your campaign.
Draw Up a Plan
First, it is important to pin down your strategy. What are your specific goals?
You could, for example:
- Find out what’s being said about your company
- Reach a wider audience (your contacts’ contacts)
- Have informal conversations with your customers
- Get feedback on new ideas
Put It Into Action
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, try these moves to meet those goals and point your social network back to your emails.
Occasionally, you may want to broadcast a brilliant newsletter beyond your list. Follow these steps to tweet your newsletter and show the Twitterverse the value of your emails. Put a sign-up form in the newsletter for new converts.
Post a sign-up form on your Facebook fan page. Your fans’ contacts will see any posts they make about you, and potential fans can also find your fan page via search. If they click over to your page, a sign-up form instantly invites them to join your list.
People who start following you via social media need a reason to subscribe by email, too. Make your web form is clearly visible, and try offering an extra incentive for signing up.
You aren’t the only one who can hype your campaign: your readers can, too. Buttons to share your emails on social networks offer opportunities to promote your message – and give you a chance to go viral.
Track the chitchat. Run a search on these sites to find out where people are talking about you (and what they’re saying!). Respond where appropriate, and link to helpful pages on your site or relevant blog posts.
Bonus: Not only do these searches reveal which sites to focus on, they might also be full of ideas for fresh newsletter content!
Facebook has long offered the ability to host a custom application for your fan page. Now, you can have your application either request or require users to sign up for your emails. These opt-ins can then be imported to your email list.
For a closer relationship, show as much interest in your subscribers as you ask them to show in you. Invite them to share their username for the network of their choice. Then pay attention to what they say.
Remember, the more readers see you, the more you’ll stay on their minds. And instead of an email automaton, they’ll see you as a person.
Your 2.0 Tactics
Which of these methods have you tried with your campaign? Have you seen a change in your relationships with subscribers?
In your experience, is the extra time and effort worth the results? Let us know!
I know you. You tell me what you want. I make it. I remember next time.
-D. Peppers and M. Rogers, Enterprise One to One
Customer satisfaction is vital for a company’s success. You take care of every customer, not only because you appreciate their business, but also because you know the profound effect of word-of-mouth.
Promptly responding to feedback can make you in an otherwise break-you situation. Read on to discover one company whose lack of response cost them millions, and three others whose effort earned them rave reviews.
As Joseph Jaffe points out, “Retention is the new acquisition.” Work on your own retention with these ideas on finding out what subscribers want – and delivering it.
A Public Relations Nightmare
Canadian country singer Dave Carroll‘s guitar was broken in spring of 2008 by United Airlines’ boisterous baggage handling.
The video was viewed over 7.5 million times. United eventually offered Carroll a settlement, which he redirected to charity.
United’s share value fell by 10% after the video’s release. The $180 million loss would have bought Carroll over 51,000 new guitars – and saved the airline’s reputation.
Gold-Star Acts of Service
On the other hand, when companies jump to respond to customer feedback, it pays off. Not only did these three avoid the snafu that United went through, they were also publicly praised.
Cathay Pacific flight attendants circumvented protocol to get a stranded passenger halfway around the world to his home, earning a glowing recommendation.
Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas found a disgruntled Facebook post about poor customer service. They apologized within hours with a basket of wine and chocolate.
Comcast’s Frank Eliason addresses customer concerns – and improves the company’s reputation – on Twitter. No need to wait for the cable guy – he’s @ComcastCares!
You Can Do It, Too
As an email marketer, you are already a step ahead of the game. Through your email list, you are already in contact with lots of your customers. Here are some ways you can tell your readers that you want their feedback, and get it from them.
- Make sure that the “reply” address and postal address listed in your emails are legitimate. If you don’t check them frequently, start doing so. Respond to every complaint and every compliment – show each customer you appreciate them.
- Periodically send out customer satisfaction surveys. Design them so your readers can critique as much as possible. Cover every topic you can think of, then leave room for ones you miss. Encourage comments and stories, and again, respond wherever you can.
- Include your company’s phone number in your emails with a clear invitation to call you with any questions or concerns.
- Set up an autoresponder that invites feedback. For example, AWeber’s new blog subscribers get an email that shows all the ways they can contact us and asks for their feedback and preferences.
Once you have your customers’ feedback, go use it!
- Apply your findings to the content of your newsletter. If your readers prefer certain topics, concentrate on them.
- If you get feedback regarding a lack of interest in certain types of content, try segmenting your list. Group subscribers with similar preferences and send the content each segment most wants.
- If you use a rating scale, segment the subscribers who rate an email low. Ask them what they didn’t like or what content they’d rather see. Personally address any serious problems.
- Use the feedback as content in your emails. Positive comments can be included as testimonials. If you make a change based on a reader’s suggestion, write about it. You value your subscribers and your door is always open – let them know.
What Makes You Shine?
It’s been said that customer service is the new marketing.
How do you find out what your customers want? How personal do you get with your responses?
How does their feedback make a difference in what you do? Share your thoughts!